More MS news articles for Dec 2001

The Power of Prayer and Yoga

Dec. 24, 2001 (Ivanhoe Newswire) Recent research supports the belief in the power of prayer and yoga for health purposes.

Previous studies suggest praying for patients in intensive care is beneficial, even if you don't know them. New research reveals praying for people with a blood infection shortens fevers and time spent in the hospital. Researchers from Israel analyzed more than 3,390 patients with a blood infection to see if prayer had an effect on their health. Patients were separated into two groups. One group received a short prayer for the well being and full recovery from a person unknown to them. The other group did not receive prayer. Researchers compared the number of deaths, length of hospital stay, and how long fevers lasted between the groups.

In patients who heard a prayer, death rate was about 28 percent compared to more than 30 percent in patients who did not receive a prayer. Length of time spent in the hospital and fever duration was also shorter in the group who received a prayer. Authors conclude prayer can improve outcomes in patients with a blood infection. They write, "This intervention is cost effective, probably has no adverse effects, and should be considered for clinical practice."

In another study, Italian and Polish researchers studied the effect of a rosary prayer and yoga in heart beat patterns. Researchers measured the breathing rate and blood pressure in 23 healthy participants during normal talking and during a rosary prayer. They also recorded breathing patterns while participants repeatedly performed a typical yoga pose. Results show both prayer and yoga cause significant increases in heart rhythm. Researchers conclude, "Rhythm formulas that involve breathing at six breaths per minute induce favorable psychological and possibly physiological effects."

SOURCE: British Medical Journal, 2000;323:1450-1451, 1446-1449

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